I forced myself to not cry because I didn't want to attract attention. I needed everyone to focus on finding my baby.
In a split-second while shopping I thought he walked over to his father. My husband assumed our child was with me.
Now half a dozen clerks were crawling through a clothing store with us, calling my son's name.
I ran into the parking lot to take video of license plates and cars departing the vicinity. How could I be so stupid? Twenty feet is too far to let a 3-year-old walk unattended! I started dictating into my phone what my son was wearing and his description.
It was 10 minutes since my son was last seen and we were near a major highway. He could be headed anywhere by now.
My will could no longer dam my tears, and they spilled down my face.
A woman ran up to me. "Your husband has your baby. He's fine!"
I burst through the door and knocked over my embracing husband and son and kissed them both.
"He was inside that rack." Another clerk told me. "He wrapped himself in a jacket, and we couldn't see his feet."
The giggling gave him away. The adults in the store were outsmarted by my child, who was amused by the commotion.
Relieved and back at the car, my parenting theory and my parenting practice parted.
“Don’t you hide from me!” Then I spanked his bottom. More than once.
And we both cried.
I am such a contradiction. But I’m not alone.
I thought I could never spank. I still bear damage -- emotional and physical -- caused by parents who freely “whooped that butt!” And I know there's a stigma against it. A recent survey on discipline by Care.com found 93% of respondents feel that way. Yet 54% were like me and admitted to spanking a child.
I’m an "attachment parent" who spanks. I strive to behave gently toward my child in speech and in touch. I recognize spanking is contrary to these aims. Adapting this approach to my own family means accepting spanking as an emergency tool in my shed.
I have a willful son who sometimes behaves dangerously. And I hate myself when I do it, but I will admit, I have spanked my child.
Do you ever find you that your parenting behaviors are out of line with your parenting beliefs?
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